Field Teams from the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative Learn from Top Researchers at the Macha Research Trust
Last month, field teams from the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative visited the Macha Research Trust where they witnessed cutting edge research on malaria parasites and the mosquitoes that transmit them. The site visit took place during the Fourth Annual Malaria Roundtable hosted by the Idell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative (CBMI) in Livingstone, Zambia.
Dr. Phil Thuma, Macha’s Senior Scientific Advisor, hosted CBMI field teams as well as Co-Founders Christopher Flowers and Neville Isdell for an afternoon of learning and observation.
The Macha Hospital, home to the Macha Research Trust, was established in 1957 as a mission hospital under the Brethren in Christ Church of North America, and has functioned within the program of the Ministry of Health of Zambia since that time. Registered nearly 50 years later, the Macha Research Trust (previously named the Malaria Institute at Macha), operates with support from the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute and conducts research on various aspects of malaria, including drug trials, as well as efforts to control and prevent malaria.
The CBMI field teams from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, and Namibia were able to see the various types of research being conducted on female Anopheles mosquitoes – those that can transmit malaria. The Macha Research Trust breeds and contains mosquitoes in a controlled environment in order to observe their behavior and test new control strategies. Throughout the visit, the field teams were able to see the various stages of the mosquitoes’ development, and to observe a mosquito up close under a microscope.
The field teams had the opportunity to tour the laboratories, where scientists were conducting research using technology such as PCR and computer modeling. The teams also heard from a monitoring and evaluation specialist who uses GIS mapping to detect and predict malaria outbreaks.
The site visit proved extremely interesting and useful for the field teams as they consistently interact with communities affected by malaria. The teams plan to relay the information they learned to the community volunteers in their home countries – those who serve as the backbone of the CBMI’s efforts to eliminate malaria.
For more information on the Macha Trust, see Dr. Phil Thuma’s presentation from the Roundtable here.